by Patrick Byrne
Roger Stone recently gave an interview where he discussed me. He says that he believes that in October 2017 I engineered meeting him and “grilling” him about matters Russian. He is a 67 year old man being sent to prison, so one cannot blame him for putting some pieces together incorrectly, as he has done. I will lay out the truth here. The bottom line of it is: We all have experienced chains of events that seem too coincidental to be true but are anyway. This is one of them.
Though I try in general to keep my own politics out of DeepCapture, since they are relevant to the following story I will explain that (as Milton Friedman described himself) I am a small “l” libertarian and a small “r” republican. This often leads me to brush up against Libertarians, whose company I enjoy.
In August-September 2017 the Libertarian Party of Utah asked if they could hold an evening soirée in our then recently-completed Peace Coliseum. I wanted to say “yes,” but consulted my colleagues, asking them to agree that we were not going to open the doors to Democrats and Republicans. That is because, though I agree it would be wrong for a CEO of a public firm to extend such a courtesy to either of the major parties, I feel that when it comes to Libertarians, or Greens, or Constitutional Parties, or other fringe parties… well, it seems unlikely to tip the balance and give one of them the White House, so is therefore less objectionable. My colleagues assented, and so I gave permission to my fabulous assistant of many years, Kirstie, to inform the Libertarian Party of Utah they were free to use to central “Nucleus” of the building for their reception in October.
Around about the same time, Netflix or iTunes started recommending to me a then recently-released documentary, “Get Me Roger Stone”. I had heard the name years before, as some kind of high-level Republican fixer, and knew that in the Trump campaign he and Steve Bannon had emerged as the guys who had pulled off the victory. I did not watch the movie when it was recommended, but made a mental note that I should someday.
About a week before the Libertarian Party event, Kirstie came to me and said, “Have you heard of a documentary, ‘Get Me Roger Stone’? You should watch it. That is who is coming to speak at the Libertarian Party event coming up next week, and he wants to take you to dinner afterwards.”
If this sound strange, please understand that from time to time such things happen to me. DNC Chairman Howard Dean once came through Utah and sent a message asking if I would meet him and ride in a car with him for 30 minutes as he was driven someplace, just so we could get to know each other. Another year, Utah Democratic Party leader Dominick Dunn showed up for lunch, asking if I would run for Congress as a Democrat. Various Republicans candidates and pooh-bahs coming through Utah have shown up on my doorstep for similar reasons. Someone close to Bernie Sanders has repeatedly told to me that if he won he was considering me to serve as his SEC Chairman. So an invitation such as Kirstie was conveying is not such a strange thing to me. In any case, I told Kirstie to let Roger Stone’s people know that I would keep my evening free, and I watched the documentary “Get Me Roger Stone” that night in preparation.
A week later, the Libertarian Party had a reception in our headquarters. Roger Stone showed up and spoke. Afterwards, he and I went out and had a long dinner.
Here is my best recollection of the dinner, in three parts:
1. We spent some time just getting to know each other, I told him I had heard of him, seen the documentary, etc. Congratulated him on his upset victory in the election a year previously (he knew I had voted Libertarian).
2. He brought up what was on his mind, and the reason he had asked to take me to dinner: He wanted me to run for higher office. I don’t want to go into what he proposed and how he suggested it might come about, but I heard him out. I told him, “I need to run for office like I need a hole in my head.” He asked me not to say “No” outright, but to think about it, and I promised him I would.
3. We spoke of the Russia matters that were then gaining steam.
• My frame of mind was:
• As explained my three essays on Maria Butina (cf. Maria & Me Parts I, II, III), since July 2015 I had detected from the Men In Black an abject lack of curiosity regarding the subject of Russian penetration of the US political process. That is because since July 2015 I had let them know (as is explained in those preceding pieces) that there was a Russian grad student in DC who said she wished to be a bridge for peace, she was inviting me to Russia to meet oligarchs and politicians and speak on Bitcoin, but she was also swimming around in our political class in DC, especially among Republicans…. But since July 2015 the USG had been communicating to me that it meant nothing to them. And in March 2016 they told me they had studied Maria for two weeks, decided that she was just an ordinary graduate student, and not to worry about her.
• Because by October 2017 the headlines were all Russia all the time, and because I had not yet fully grasped how crooked were the people who had sent me my instructions, I was still largely expecting an Anna Chapman-like network of Russian spies to be discovered and exposed. The one that was making all the headlines, the one that had distorted our election, the one that was gumming up Washington, DC. I was thinking to myself, “No wonder they miss things like this damn network of Russian spies, given how incurious I found them to be about Maria.”
• I was curious to find out what connection, if any, my grad student pal in DC (Maria Butina) might have to the network of Russian spies that Comey & Mueller & Co. were going to bring down. I thought it most likely that Maria would turn out not to have been part of it, but thought the Men In Black might end up aknowledging: “Yes we sure were asleep at the switch on the subject.”
• As I have revealed elsewhere, I knew that I knew important things, but did not know what they were. Thus I was taking it as my duty, to the best of my ability, to keep my nose out of the stories about the Russian matters. If I read too much of it, then my own memories and what I read in the papers would start getting blurred, and just in case someone showed up some day and asked me what I knew, I wanted to keep my memories pristine.
• So that was my frame of mind. What did I say of it?
Zero. Nada. I told Roger Stone precisely nothing of any of the above, Maria, our involvement, etc.
When he brought up the Russian matters that were then starting to turn white-hot, given that I really had been trying to keep my head down and as ignorant of it as possible from the press, I could not resist asking Roger, What the hell is this all about? Again, I knew I should not be talking about it with anyone, but I also knew that I knew something, but could not figure out what it was that I knew. So I welcomed Roger opening up and telling me what he knew: he said it was a crock of shit. I knew vaguely of the whole WikiLeaks angle and his purported role, and he got adamant: The feds after me are saying that the truth is X but it really is Y. That’s all I remember.
We left things that I would think about his request that I run for higher office, and give him my decision when I had made one. For the next 8-10 months, Roger texted me every couple of weeks, sending me an article or two, and asking me my thoughts about the offer he had made me of running for office. Once (or maybe twice) in those months when I was in New York, he came over to my hotel suite and we had a meal to discuss the idea some more.
Eventually I sent him a text telling him the truth: to let all concerned know I was flattered by the invitation but I was just not interested in running for office.
Meanwhile, on the back-end, this is what was going on with Men In Black.
As I indicated elsewhere on DeepCapture, as of March 2017 we had gone our separate ways. I was not speaking to them through that long period. There was an exception, however, around January of 2017, when we got together on an unrelated matter. In the course of that meeting I mentioned the story about Roger Stone: the Libertarian Party of Utah had held an evening event at our headquarters, Roger Stone had been the invited speaker, he had taken me out for dinner afterwards, and asked me to run for higher office. They wanted to know what my answer had been, and I told them that I had said, I am not inclined to do so but I will give it some thought. The Russian matter came up only in passing, at the end: I confirmed to them that I had told Roger nothing, and what Roger had told me about WikiLeaks: Feds were claiming that the truth was X but actually the truth was Y. I also mentioned that around Christmas 2017 I had been in the White House, had lunch with HR McMaster, and when he had brought up the Russian investigation I had also said nothing, because I knew I was in a White House under federal investigation and figured I probably should not muddy up the investigation by saying anything (not saying anything to HRM was a big mistake, obviously: we are friendly and I should have trusted him).
For January-April I continued on my path of trying not to follow anything in the news about the Russian scandal. I figured it would reach me when it reached me, and if it did, I would likely find myself sitting in front of a panel of Senators explaining how indolent and incurious the USG had been about the possibility of Russian penetration of the USA’s political processes (as I had seen when I told them about Maria swanking around with all those Republicans, and meeting Don Jr. clandestinely, etc.), and that is why they had missed that Anna Chapman-like network of Russian spies that was just making all the headlines.
By late April of 2018 it was becoming impossible to filter out of my knowledge the fact that the Russian scandal was turning from white-hot into a nuclear meltdown. I began reading about it, and started to see how little actual substance seemed to be involved, so that by May a terrible thought kept occurring to me: What if this entire “Anna Chapman-like network of Russian spies” that gets “discovered” and “exposed” turns out to be….. nothing but a Russian grad student named Maria Butina? About whom they actually knew (from me) since July 2015, whose every move and meeting they had known about (again, through me) for much of the time since then (often before those meetings occurred)? And in the case of one significant meeting that I have never revealed, the meeting occurred because of me, because they had told me to grease it into place? What if all the “Russian spying scandal” turns out to be is Maria Butina, whom in March 2017 they told me they had studied for two weeks and decided that she was simply a grad student in DC? And if that was true, then it meant that this crazy hunch I had had in September 2015 was true: the Men In Black were lying to me, they were putting on a show about being disinterested in Maria, but were up on her the whole time…. But then why had they allowed it all to continue? Because (as first crossed my mind in September 2015), maybe they are letting Maria Butina do this because they were creating a beautiful Can-O-Scandal to shake up and crack open and spray all over the Republican Party any day they wanted?
I know it sounds ridiculously stupid now, but I put all that together but kept dismissing it: No, that cannot possibly be. You’ve seen too many movies. But by May 2018 I was having trouble dismissing it.
As I explained in Maria & Me Part III: Betraying Maria, around June 1, 2018 I was in Washington and Maria sought me out, and came to my hotel. I heard what she had to say, and it reinforced the picture I outlined above. Our meeting ended with me telling her that she was a “loose end” in some big scheme I could not fathom: either FSB goons were going to show up and whack her, or she was going to be arrested. I still could only put the pieces together vaguely, but if my hypothesis was correct, that much seemed certain.
That is when I sought out a bigshot Republican lawyer in DC and asked him to take me to someone who was providing adult supervision. He listened to five minutes of my story (he is a terrible listener) and told me I was out of my mind, and refused to help me. I told him that I was thinking of walking into the DOJ and asking for Robert Mueller: he replied that the Mueller investigation was unprecedented in American history, the guy was a hang-‘em-high guy, and if I went to see him they would crush me.
I still had trouble believing the picture that I was putting together in my head, so again I spun in circles for another 2-3 weeks, trying to figure out what to do. In early July, 2018 I was in Atlantic City giving a talk, and that evening Youtube served me clips of a Congressional hearing that had been held that week with an FBI agent named “Peter Strzock”. Suddenly everything snapped into place: my outlandish hunch was correct. And (because of other events I knew about but have not yet made public), I suddenly I realized that I was the loose end.
At any previous period in my life, what I would have done then was write a letter and send it to 50 million friends through Overstock while going on TV the same day. However, in my 2005-2008 battle with Wall Street, when I figured out how the corrupt settlement system was being manipulated by cheats (who all seemed tied to Stevie Cohen) and that it would bring the entire system crashing down (as Greenspan later testified to Congress in 2008), I had tried an approach like that, and it worked poorly. Instead of honest journalists and investigators rushing to my aid, the System came crashing down on me. So I decided that this time, I was not going to be an Irish hothead, I was going to be strategic. For reasons that will become clear at some future date, my first thought was to go to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but I looked at its composition and saw reasons to believe it might be a really bad idea. I thought of going to the relevant IG’s, but a little research confirmed that was an even worse idea (in fact, I figured it would get me killed). I went to a federal judge whom I know socially, and left him a handwritten note outlining the situation: the answer I got back was, You cannot come to me with this but you need to go to someone. Finally, I realized: the Constitution gives the power to declare war to the House (“the chamber closest to the people”), and that since I had been used in a soft-coup, and a coup is a national security matter, I should find someone there to talk to. Which I did.
If I had it to do over again, knowing everything I know now, I would have skipped all that and flown from Atlantic City directly to New York City, walked into Fox, CNN, or PBS, and told my story. The whole story (not just the 15% I told that evening last August). But I did not. I had lots of reasons for not doing so: I thought it might cause a conflagration, I thought it could actually lead to civil violence, I thought it would marr me as a witness, I thought if might hurt the company… But in the end, it is ironic: the one time in my life I absolutely should have done the hotheaded thing, I decided, This time, I’m going to work within the System.
In any case, getting back to Roger Stone: No, what he said in his interview was incorrect, he has made some faulty connections (67 year old men going to jail get to do that). I did not engineer his visit to Utah, the Libertarian Party invited him, I knew nothing of it, a week before his visit I barely knew who he was when I was informed he was coming and wanted to take me to dinner, and I was not in touch with Men In Black during that period anyway. It is simply a coincidence that the guy whom Roger chose to approach with a request to run for higher office, is in fact the same guy who was in on the Russian and Clinton Investigations and knows all the secrets that have been hidden (in a nation of 335 million, I agree that’s a strange coincidence). If over dinner I “grilled” him too hard about the Russian scandal it was because I was trying to piece together what I knew with what he knew, without the confusion of trying to piece it all together from the press. No one had asked me to ask him anything, and when a few months later I mentioned to the feds that Roger Stone and I had had diner, all I mentioned was that he told me he was telling the truth about what he was saying publicly (the details of which are too obscure for me even to remember). And that he had asked me to run for higher office, about which the Men In Black were more curious (though they did not try to influence me either way, and I let them know the same time I let Roger know when I decided that it was not for me).
On the other hand: knowing what I know, I can confidently assert that the entire Russian investigation should be overturned, and (as my stories on Maria may make clear), some of those involved in pursuing it should be prosecuted. It is ridiculous that further judicial actions would be taken regarding anything that flows from that Russian investigation until the rest of the facts come out. The entire thing was a stitch up. By July, 2015 (and, I have some reason to suspect, perhaps as early as March 2015), it was being engineered. I know, because I was (unwittingly) part of the engineering. I saw them lay the tracks, I saw them put the locomotive together, I saw them fill it with coal and send it on its way. I saw the whole thing (without quite understanding at the time what I was watching), and it was a fix, from July, 2015. The fact that it rolled down the tracks and struck people like Roger is incidental, given that it was fugazi from the start. As I understand it, Roger was charged with, in a voluntary appearance in Congress, while not under oath, saying something on an immaterial matter that contradicted what someone else said about that matter, and he was convicted by a jury led by an activist who showed clear bias towards him both before and after the trial and who may have lied to get through the voire dire, all under the supervision of a judge (Amy Berman Jackson) who seems to have attended the Emmet Sullivan School of Judicial Impartiality. When all the facts are known, it is going to be another enormous embarrassment to the US judicial system.
I have committed to Powers That Be that I am not going saying any more than what I said on TV last August, until after this November’s election. After that, I am going to tell the whole story, but until then I am to “trust the process.” And this I will do. I have been convinced that it is the right thing to do if the forces of treachery and corruption are going to be defeated by Rule of Law.
But on this point my Rabbi says I am wrong. We spoke from quarantine a few weeks ago, and he still thinks I should just come forward and tell the 85% of the story I omitted last August. I told him that I think about doing it every day, just going back on Fox or CNN and telling the whole truth to the American people. I told him that I have written a letter to the DOJ that begins, “Dear General Barr: I am sorry I muddied up your federal investigation, but…” and then goes on for three pages about MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, my conscience, my duties as a citizen, etc. In a flash Buffett replied, “Don’t do that. Just write a letter that says, ‘Dear General Barr: I am sorry I muddied up your federal investigation, but I get to live with myself too.’ Then go on TV.”
I am not. I am trying to do the right thing, and that includes, not fucking up a federal investigation of historic magnitude and significance (any more than I already have).
As you can see, this puts me in a terrible quandary: I am to remain silent until November. I believe that when I do speak, what I have to say will make it obvious (if it is not obvious by then) that the entire thing was pure political espionage, a stitch-up from the start, and that any weird “process crime” convictions such as Roger is alleged to have committed should be thrown out. It all should be thrown out, and the people at the top of the orders should go to jail.
Yet Roger is going to prison in 30 days, this June, the prison is full of Covid-19, and Roger is 67.
I am reminded of a scene in that fabulous old movie Midnight Run, with Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro. There is a point where Grodin has to save De Niro (“Jack”) from drowning in a river by extending a branch to him, while Jack is furiously shouting at him he’s going to cuff him and take him to jail. Grodin finally delivers a marvelous line, “You’re making it really hard for me to do the right thing here, Jack.”
And to the Powers That Be I say, You are making it really hard for me to do the right thing here, folks.
I get to live with myself, too.